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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 129612, 8 pages
Research Article

Morphine Reduces Myocardial Infarct Size via Heat Shock Protein 90 in Rodents

1Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
2Department of Pharmacology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA

Received 13 March 2015; Accepted 17 May 2015

Academic Editor: Engin Erturk

Copyright © 2015 Bryce A. Small et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Opioids reduce injury from myocardial ischemia-reperfusion in humans. In experimental models, this mechanism involves GSK3β inhibition. HSP90 regulates mitochondrial protein import, with GSK3β inhibition increasing HSP90 mitochondrial content. Therefore, we determined whether morphine-induced cardioprotection is mediated by HSP90 and if the protective effect is downstream of GSK3β inhibition. Male Sprague-Dawley rats, aged 8–10 weeks, were subjected to an in vivo myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury protocol involving 30 minutes of ischemia followed by 2 hours of reperfusion. Hemodynamics were continually monitored and myocardial infarct size determined. Rats received morphine (0.3 mg/kg), the GSK3β inhibitor, SB216763 (0.6 mg/kg), or saline, 10 minutes prior to ischemia. Some rats received selective HSP90 inhibitors, radicicol (0.3 mg/kg), or deoxyspergualin (DSG, 0.6 mg/kg) alone or 5 minutes prior to morphine or SB216763. Morphine reduced myocardial infarct size when compared to control (42 ± 2% versus 60 ± 1%). This protection was abolished by prior treatment of radicicol or DSG (59 ± 1%, 56 ± 2%). GSK3β inhibition also reduced myocardial infarct size (41 ± 2%) with HSP90 inhibition by radicicol or DSG partially inhibiting SB216763-induced infarct size reduction (54 ± 3%, 47 ± 1%, resp.). These data suggest that opioid-induced cardioprotection is mediated by HSP90. Part of this protection afforded by HSP90 is downstream of GSK3β, potentially via the HSP-TOM mitochondrial import pathway.